Sunday, August 2, 2009

This Wheel’s on Fire

1980, Nevada, Iowa

I think it was a Buick K car, brown with four doors. I took it when the Econoline was not available, and we had sold the Fiat by then, a little death car.
I learned to drive when I was 11 or 12 on a C Farmall Tractor, mowing the pasture. You could get a special license when you were 14 years old back then, so I was already driving a car legally to and from school events early on. Drinking and driving, that great old Midwestern pastime.

We lived a couple miles out of town. At the end of the paved road, right where the driveway to Indian Creek Country Club begins, lined with poplars by the driving range, you turn left onto gravel. I took the turn too fast and slid sideways into the ditch, the car turning completely upside down with me in it. It was 3 o’clock in the morning and I was blind drunk.

I managed to climb out a window and reach the road. I looked down at the bottom of the car and decided to do one thing: get all four tires spinning at the same time, which I did and then stood back watching and laughing.

The only thing I could do was head up the driveway and wake up my boss and his wife who lived in a trailer next to the clubhouse. I went and they woke up grumbling but more concerned that I wasn’t hurt, no concussion or anything. They called my Dad and told him what happened, so he came and took me home. While I was sleeping, the tow truck came and pulled the car out of the ditch. The police also came, as was routine with any accident, and my Dad soberly explained to Capt. Johnson how he had lost control in the turn, but was not injured in any way and thanks for coming Steve, say hello to Katie and the kids for me.

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